Dear Noel Edmunds,

Dear Noel Edmunds,

I’ve just watched your interview on this morning, after reading numerous newspaper reports about your recent comments on the power of positive energy, and I wanted to write to you – to thank you.

If only my father had known, seventeen years ago when he was dying of cancer, that a little bit of positive energy would’ve saved him. He may not have died ‘of ignorance’ like your own father. And I’m so grateful I now know that all I need to do to stop myself facing the same fate is view the crap life throws at me as a blessing. I mean if I’m really good at it and do it properly, it may even cure the depression that’s plagued me for the last few years. Continue reading Dear Noel Edmunds,

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Dear parents of the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure

Dear parents of the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure,

Most days, on the school run, someone loses a child. The gates close and everyone runs round shouting the name of the wandering preschooler. We’ve all been there. I know I have. Stood chatting to a fellow parent I assumed my 3 year old was where he normally was, picking up sticks behind the classroom.

Except he wasn’t. He had walked down the driveway and was a few
minutes from where I stood. And, after five long minutes looking for him, when my breathing had calmed enough for me to ask him why on earth he’d walked away without me, his answer was simple, ‘I thought we were going to the park, mummy. So I was going to the park.’

It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but one – even after three children – that taught me never to assume. That their little brains are always one step ahead and revelling in their own little world. And I was lucky. Only a handful of friends saw my panic and whitnessed my lapse in childcare.

Sadly the whole world is aware of your mishap. And horribly judging you for it. Continue reading Dear parents of the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure

Dear Diet Industry…

Dear Diet Industry,

This week there have been many reports in the newspapers surrounding diets and the obesity crisis that is currently gripping the UK. Reports that claim fat is indeed now good for us and low fat products do nothing but make us fatter in the long run.

Your industry is one that often targets itself at overweight and unhappy people who want a quick fix. You promise lasting results, quick initial losses and state that people who follow your plan are happy and never hungry. There are products, magazines and endless other ways to take the money off the overweight. And I’m not  even mentioned the more extreme diets, which come at a more extreme price; the blood group diet, food harvested only when the planets and stars are perfectly aligned, juicing and more. All promising the same thing. All primarily focusing on losing weight and not being healthy. Since when did skinny equal healthy? It doesn’t and the industry is capitalising on society’s view that slimness equals attractiveness. Perpetuating the myth that if you are fat then you are ugly. Continue reading Dear Diet Industry…

Radox, why can’t I feel heroic?

Dear Radox,

This letter has been a long time coming, but before we start I’d like to point out that your products have been used by me and my family for many years – they have soothed my muscles and helped me sleep on several occasions – it’s only recently that your packaging has made me angry every time I shower in the morning.

What may seem like good marketing to you, seems to me to be something that perpetuates outdated gender roles – that men like to ‘feel good’ and women like to ‘look good.’ I’d like to ask you why on earth you have packaged your shower gels this way…with taglines claiming that men can ‘rule the world’ and ‘feel heroic’ from showering using your products, whereas women can ‘feel sassy’ and ‘red carpet ready’ or ‘gorgeous with sun-kissed skin.’ And do not get me started on the product that suggests women need to ‘feel calm.’ Slathering that particular shower gel all over my body right now would not calm me down, I can assure you of that.

2945-917985-RangeShots_780x290_Invigorated Continue reading Radox, why can’t I feel heroic?

Feminism: Empowering or Destabilising?

Dear Reader,

I read an article this week in which it was suggested that feminism hasn’t so much empowered women, but destabilised men. And by this I do not mean that patriarchy is no more – I simply mean that men no longer have a defined role, and this is unnerving them somewhat.

For years feminism has been a voice designed to promote equality and choice for all women. There is still a long way to go with regards to this, the gender pay gap for example is still ever present, but I do think that wires are getting crossed along the way.

I often see tweets and Facebook updates where people claim that because their husband is cooking the dinner and they are assembling flat pack furniture that they live in a non gender role specific house. And that this means they are winning at feminism.

And I have to disagree. Continue reading Feminism: Empowering or Destabilising?

Gender Pay Gap lessons from 7 year olds

OUR_CLASSThis week I had the privilege of speaking with 7 year olds in Bristol as part of Enterprise week. Of all the meetings and events I had planned, this one was one I was looking forward to most.

There was something warm and fuzzy about that 2 PM slot on a Tuesday afternoon. And then reality hit and the pressure of 30 pairs of eyes piercing me through gave me unexpected heart palpitations.

We spoke about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how my work is around understanding the gender pay gap. The children were astounded. There is a gender pay gap? Why? Here are the three lessons I’ve learned from them while we discussed the issue.

  1. Never underestimate the power of a 7 year old to change a discussion about the gender pay gap into a conversation about fish and chips.
  2. In roles that are visible, gender stereotypes are alive and kicking. (ie. Very few girls thought that when they grow up they could be working in construction.)
  3. Men don’t allow women to work in construction because a brick could hit them on the head.
  4. It is unfair that some roles are valued less while they contribute a lot (ie. mums)
  5. The gender pay gap could be closed through a wrestling game, and may the best one win.
  6. Girls can build airplanes, because when more people – boys and girls – think about something together, they come up with a much better ideas.
  7. These young 7 year olds will live in a world with no pay gap. They will not allow it.

When I walked in, I was terrified. When I walked out (besides being thankful for still being alive) I was hopeful. The future is bright – the future has no pay gap.

With Gapsquare, we lead the development of technologies that will close the gender pay gap.

Dear David Cameron…

Your recent, and if I may say so, ridiculous decision to not make sex education compulsory has somehow not driven the headlines recently, as it should have.

In fact, anyone who doesn’t regularly delve into the world of the media and its sensationalist portrayal of the news and daily scaremongering might have missed it altogether. Which is a shame. It should’ve caused uproar, not least because it is not a wise decision, but because the women in parliament who suggested it – Nicky Morgan Secretary of State for Education being one of them – and gave such a good argument as to why sex education should indeed be compulsory, were not exactly taken seriously. Continue reading Dear David Cameron…

ordinary women, extraordinary lives

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